Each homeschooling family has different needs and requirements for their schedules and curriculums. They key to making homeschooling work for your family is to figure out the balance that you need during the day. Does that sound challenging? It should, because finding balance is an ongoing process whose needs and requirements can change from day to day, week to week, or month to month. Instead of getting overwhelmed, try using the five tricks below for creating a homeschool routine and schedule that works for your family.
1. Realistic Expectations
When you are homeschooling teens, your expectations for their ability to work independently and complete their work at a certain time is very different than when you are homeschooling young elementary students. Before you can move forward in planning, you must have realistic expectations about what your children will need from you to complete their work and their level of independence in everything from reading to chores. When you have realistic expectations, you will find that you get less stressed about keeping and maintaining the routine you want.
2. Know Your Children
Does your oldest like to sleep until 10am? Is your middle child an early riser? Does your youngest get distracted easily? The better you know your children’s personalities and habits, the easier it is to create a schedule that works for everyone. Not sure about the time of day to start? Ask for your children’s input. Remember, homeschooling is a family affair and the more involved your children feel with their education, the more invested they will be in completing their assignments.
3. Write It Down
It’s tempting to create a monthly schedule right from the start, but keep in mind that your routine and schedule may change from week to week and day to day. It’s okay to plan out the big picture with generalities – i.e., start dates, last day of school, vacations, etc. However, it’s equally as important to schedule the week’s events week by week. Print out a sample weekly calendar and block off times that homeschool work cannot occur (although I would argue that homeschooling happens everywhere and all the time!). Block off doctor’s appointments, gymnastics practice, and piano lessons so that you can see how how much time is being used for each activity. Next, fill in meals. From there you have time left for schooling, housework, exercise, errands, and downtime. Keeping in mind steps one and two above, schedule in school time.
On a daily calendar, break down the subjects to be covered during each day for each child at each school time slot. The daily calendar should also allow times for breaks – especially for little ones! Back to the weekly calendar and filling in the rest of the time slots. Color code the calendar as much as possible to make it easier to see activities at a glance. Always make school time a bright, cheerful color to show enthusiasm and excitement for learning. By breaking your weeks and days down into manageable time chunks, you can see what time you have available and how to stick to your schedule.
4. Be Flexible
One of the great things about homeschooling is the flexibility to learn anywhere at anytime. So, while having detailed schedules and routines is great, be open to being flexible and spontaneous. Not only will it help alleviate stress, but it will make homeschooling what you want it to be – fun and educational.
5. Be Accountable
Be accountable to yourself, the curriculum you have planned out, and your family. And hold your children accountable for their work – both school and housework – as well. Homeschooling can be as relaxed or as rigid as you make it, but the key to a successful program is to do your best with it. Homeschooling is not for the lazy, but it is easy to fall into a routine where no one is held accountable. Be true to the reason why you started homeschooling – whatever that may be.
* Are you a veteran homeschooler? Share your advice for setting up schedules and routines below.
* Are you a new homeschooling mom or dad with a question or concern? Ask it below and we’ll try to help you!